The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, which sentenced nine of the accused in the Dinakaran office attack case to life imprisonment on Thursday, observed that it was perplexing that senior police officers had to discuss, ruminate and deliberate over a simple act of lodging a complaint when V. Rajaram, the then DSP, was present throughout the attack.
A Division Bench of Justices P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi, which lamented the role of the police in the incident, said that instead of asking Mr. Rajaram to give a complaint on what he saw, senior officers made a hapless SI the complainant in the case.
The court was of the view that the complaint implicating the then DMK Madurai strongman M.K. Alagiri, had come first, but to avoid the embarrassment of making him an accused, senior police officers contrived the complaint and got it registered in the evening.
A total of 49 witnesses turned hostile in the case.
“It is settled law that merely because witnesses turn hostile, their testimony need not be discarded in toto in view of Section 154 (2) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872,” it said.
The court perused the videos and photographs taken by pressmen, who had turned hostile, and expressed shock over photographs and video footage showing Mr. Rajaram along with ‘Attack’ Pandi as if he was a police escort.
It was not even a case where the assailants outnumbered the police, the court said. It added that a huge police force was deployed at the SP’s command and that Selvaraj, the then Additional SP, was equally culpable as he forced the SI to be the complainant.
Mr. Rajaram had been asked to appear before the court on March 25 to be heard on the quantum of sentence.
He was convicted for having failed to prevent the arsonists, under Section 217 of IPC (public servant disobeying the law to save a person from punishment) and Section 221 (intentional omission to apprehend someone).